What Did You Make Today?


One night last week when I got home from a yoga class, Ray was watching a community television station from Fresno California on his ipad. He was excited to then be able to watch the station on our TV. It wasn’t a program he really wanted to watch, but a chance to appreciate the work he did to make this possible. This is not my area of expertise or interest and as I try to explain I will inevitably say it wrong. Basically, Ray wrote the code which allows community television stations to livestream their channels. While software development is creative work that I can’t always wrap my head around, I fully appreciate the satisfaction of making something and seeing it work.

There isn’t a lot of overlap in the things that Ray and I enjoy making, creating and tinkering with. He uses his mind and a keyboard*, I am drawn to hands on creation. Mixing flour and water, kneading dough, cutting and stitching. No matter what tools, ingredients, or materials you use, there is a satisfaction in unlocking the secrets of a process so that all you need is your brain and your hands to make it happen. Whether you are cooking, painting, or writing code, the challenge of solving the puzzle and honing your skills brings a sense of self reliance and satisfaction in actively making parts of the world. It doesn’t have to be complex or extraordinary.

After admiring his work for a few minutes I asked Ray to please turn off the TV and he turned to me and said, “What did you make today?” My husband should know better than to ask me this with a tone that implies that I probably didn’t make anything nearly as worthwhile.

I paused before remembering, “Bagels.”

The bagels were the antidote to days of dreary rain and gray and disheartening temperatures in the 30s and 40s. I used this recipe from Wayward Spark (I baked mine in the oven). It doesn’t take a lot of time but it is a two day process which is ideal if you are suffering from a rainy week or need something that feels like a bit of a project. The bagels were as good as many that I have bought from bagel shops.

For me, making food is often as much about deliciousness as tangible creation. Sometimes the importance of the end result is not that you have a bagel to slice open and spread with cream cheese or a community television station that everyone can watch online, but the feeling that you get from making it happen.

So, what did you make today?

*Ray also builds bicycles and brews beer so this is over simplifying the scope of his creative work.


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